GOVERNMENT is yet to construct water and sewerage reticulation infrastructure under Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai at Cowdray Park in Bulawayo.
This emerged after reports that the Bu
lawayo City Council had issued eviction orders to beneficiaries of the housing project to prevent an outbreak of diseases as the two-roomed houses have unsanitary living conditions.
The local authority said the evictions were meant to prevent diarrhoea outbreaks and respiratory infections and at the same time enforce compliance with the public health by-laws. The houses do not have potable water and sewerage reticulation.
Contacted for comment, chairman of the provincial inter-ministerial taskforce on reconstruction, Brave Matavire, refused to talk to this reporter.
“I cannot comment on that,” said Matavire before terminating the call.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Cain Mathema, Governor and Resident Minister of Bulawayo, were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
The construction, which is being carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army, has been stalled for almost a year after government failed to provide funds to complete the houses.
According to a recent Health, Housing and Education council report, failure by the government to put up water and sewer reticulation services was exposing residents to diseases.
“Developing a project of this nature and size on unserviced land had inherent problems that in the long-run negate whatever gains may be envisaged in providing shelter to residents,” the report said.
“Lack of water and sewer reticulation compromised hygiene standards and created a nuisance of fouling of open spaces. In fact, residents’ swapped death from exposure to the elements for death through diarrhoea and respiratory infections as a result of unsanitary living conditions,” read the council report in part.
The council report said the houses should be occupied after certification of occupation from the building and health inspectorate.
Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai, which began last year after Operation Murambatsvina which left thousands homeless, is moving at a sluggish pace.
The government said the operation was meant to rid the cities and towns of slums but the operation was condemned internationally as another assault on human rights.
Well-placed relatives and children of government and Zanu PF party officials have been accused of corruptly grabbing the houses while Murambatsvina victims languish in the open.